From the Backyard to the Dining Table: Camote Tops

Thanks to APEC, Manila has 2 additional special holidays, November 18-19, 2015. I took advantage of it and decided to spend it at my sayote kingdom a.k.a home.

Yesterday’s viand for lunch was camote tops, which I got from the yard (thanks to my brother who planted it). One of my goals is to someday serve food at the dining table harvested from the yard, just like the old times. Yes, old times, because my family’s main source of income was planting vegetables. And if you are a farmer, it’s basically what you plant is what you eat. While I didn’t appreciate it very much back then, I realized years later that I was lucky to have that kind of setup. Now, how I wish I could do it in Manila but space is limited, plus the weather is different. But urban gardening is also encouraged these days so might as well look into that option.
camotetops1 camotetops2Funny thing was, since I know my brother is not at home, I dropped by the grocery to pick up some stuff to sustain me while there. My siblings have their own lives, I have my own home, and since my mother died, there’s no one to ensure I have food at home, courtesy of her sari-sari store hehehe. Anyway, I picked up some canned goods, and I grimaced while doing so and again while typing this hahaha (I’m trying as much as I can to avoid all things processed now, that’s why). But since the camote tops are I think enough for the meals that I have to take at home, looks like the canned goods will be for my brother hahaha. Swap kami 😛 . Plus, tita and her family is visiting this weekend so they will bring more vegetables.

Note: While the camote tops in the picture doesn’t look appetizing enough to some, it’s how I want my vegetables cooked-plain and just sauteed in little oil with a dash of salt.

Had Fun at Burnham Park

Went home last weekend of October to spend some time with my family. Together with me was my niece (brother’s daughter) from Tagaytay (their home). Since it was only her 2nd time to visit, we went out on Sunday to attend mass, and picnic at Burnham after.
Burnham Park is one of the tourist attractions in Baguio. There are different parts of the park depending on what you prefer to do. There’s the Children’s park, Biking area (separate for children and adults so it’s safe especially for kids), Burnham lake and the Rose Garden to name a few. You can find the perfect spot for your picnic in any of these areas. For photography enthusiasts, this is also a nice place to take lots of pictures.
For my family, it has always been the Children’s park so that the kids can just play around. After lunch, the kids went biking for an hour.  We rented just one with side-car where it was manuevered by my nephew and his passengers were my 2 nieces. The area was beside Burnham Lake so after their biking, they requested us to go boating wich I obliged because believe it or not, I haven’t tried that myself. :p
We had the option to paddle the boat ourselves or just have someone do it for us for an additional fee. Being the nervous aunt that I was that time (I was the only adult in the group :p), I opted for the later. Rowing back and fourth took about 20 minutes. I’m not very much familiar with the existing rate but I paid Php 230.00 for the 30-minute boat ride, and the fee for the boatman.
Here are some pictures of that day.

 @the Children’s park
 biking weeee!
 posing at the boat
my niece concentrating on the paddle. she had fun doing it!

If you’re visiting Baguio, you can’t miss the place because it’s located at the city proper.

Baguio Gimik

After accompanying my mom to do the grocery last Sat., I texted my childhood friend if she was in town and if she would like to meet up. Fortunately, she said yes.
I had to wait for her though because she’s still in school for her tutor class, which was ok as I also needed to do some work stuff. I went to Cordillera Coffe, located in SM Baguio. The main reason I chose this place was because of their free WIFI but of course they also serve good stuff – from coffee to cakes to pasta to rice meals. My friend arrived at around 6 PM. We had a little chit chat over a cope of coffee and a slice of cake.
Not wanting to go home yet at around 8:30 PM and feeling the urge to sing, we went to look for a Videoke hehehe. Unfortunately, the one in SM is already closed and we did not know of any other place that has videoke. Darn! The next time I’m there, I should already know of a place. I know there’s one…there should be! Hehehe.
We then decided to go to Le Fondue, located at the 4th Floor La Azotea Bldg. along Session Road. It’s a small resto-bar with live music, mostly folk. There were around 2-3 singers that night who took turns. There are some tables on the small balcony overlooking Session Road. That’s where we took our seats. San Miguel is around Php35-40 while cocktails at Php55-120. I’m not sure of the exact prices. If you want to just chill and have a quiet conversation while enjoying the gentle evening breeze, then this place is ok.
Next stop is at Ayuyang. Sounds familiar? Yes, for those of you who’ve watched Piolo and Juday’s movie, Don’t Give Up On Us, this is the bar where Piolo was working. All along I thought it was further away from the city but I was surprised to learn that it’s just at Upper Session Road, where the old Victory Liner terminal was wahahaha. It was the opposite of le Fondoue. There were different bands, all of them into rock music, very opposite of what’s depicted in the movie ehehe. We can’t talk, and the rare times we attempted, we had to shout hehehe. The place is ok though and the crowd is still pleasant. But based on my observation though, they invite different bands each night so maybe some nights have different music as well.
We called it a night at around 11 PM.
So there, happy holloween! 😀
Until my next tour in my hometown hehehe.

Home sweet home

I went home last weekend as it is a long weekend and a holiday as well. It’s All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day. This is one holiday where my family usually prepares to remember our departed family members. Sometimes, it’s just us, the immediate family and our neighbor. But most of the times, relatives (especially from my mom’s side) opt to just come to our home for the event. So last week, I wasn’t surprised when an uncle texted me asking me where I’ll be on Nov. 1. When I said I was going home, he told me that they’ll be coming to our home that day so we’ll just see each other then.
When I got home last Sat., my brother was busy preparing and I can’t force him to accompany my mom for the grocery. My sister who was supposed to accompany her was not available all of a sudden. Left with no choice, I volunteered so an hour after I arrived, we went to town again, with me almost without sleep and straight from my trip. I realized I was dead tired and hungry when we were already at ths supermarket I can barely push the cart haha. Most of the time, I just stayed in the aisle and wait for my mom to just drop the stuff there hehehe. I asked her to make it a little faster so that we can grab some brunch, which she did. After that, we went to one of the restos to grab a bite. I ordered coffee first and that did the trick. I was revived hehehe. We finished everything in 4 hours. We had to wait for my uncle who will be servicing the groceries home though as we texted him late.
On Nov. 1, it was only when I realized most of my uncles and aunts and their families came. Usually, the lighting of the candle and of course, the prayers – both Catholic and traditional way are solemn. Other than that, everyone’s making a happy noise hehehe. My cousins are all grown up now and can already relate to the older ones. I even saw one of my cousins took a shot of vodka wahaha. I don’t know if it’s legal though. And he’s studying in SLU – my alma mater, taking up BS IT, just like my course. Would it be that I have influenced him? I’m not sure.
My teenager cousins were asking me for a treat (aka gimik) that day but I did not feel like going out and besides, I didn’t have the budget so I just promised them a treat in December. Another bonding moment for us. It will be a dent on my wallet though hehehe. But then again, I’m happy and so are they so it’s ok. 🙂

Hanove!

Last Thrusday, my mom texted me that I need to go home for the blessing of my uncle’s house (whose family I stayed with for almost a year when I was in Junior college). So on Friday, I decided to go an early shift (with the blessing of my boss – thanks mami! :)) so that I can leave Manila by 5PM. Unfortunately (and for reasons I don’t know), many people are still going up to Baguio so I was only able to board the 6 PM trip. I was assigned to seat # 2, just behind the driver’s seat. It looks like the bus is new. Its interiors are different from the old Victory buses. It has a small flatscreen TV.

When we were along NLEX, there was a sudden long sound (like that of a siren) from the bus. It lasted for about 2 minutes and it only stopped when the driver decided to pull over. After a few minutes of checking, we resumed the trip. The driver did not give us any reasons for that.

When we were in Tarlac for the first stop over, the driver did not park in the usual parking lot. We were in a different area which I could not locate. But beside us is another bus which was being repaired. I’m not sure whether the driver had the bus checked as well.

Moving on to I guess Taloy, when the road is already uphill and zigzag, we heard the siren sound again. Weh! Good thing we were near one small stopover for other buses so that’s where the driver pulled over for the 2nd time that night. This time, they asked us to get down and board another bus – at 12:30 AM. Scary waaaa!!! Three Victory Liner buses passed by and most of the passengers boarded those buses. I opted to just wait for other buses rather than competing with all the other passengers for a seat. I was already sleepy and I didn’t want to be standing for the rest of the trip. Besides, I just heard about the Puerto Galera incident and its cause was overloading. My praning self imagined that with a lot of my co-passengers wanting to get to their destinations already, they will all board those buses no matter how uncomfortable it will be for them and then the bus might be overloaded wehehehe.

Anyway, after 15 minutes, the driver told us that it’s already ok to board. Since there were only a few of us passengers left, and since none of the other passengers opted to wait for other buses and just get back in our bus, I followed suit. When everybody were settled and the driver was about to start the engine, the condoctor said, “alalay na lang pare”. Waaaaa. Scarier! Right then and there, I wished I could have just boarded one of the other buses earlier. The trip was slower this time because of it, and then it was foggy and it was already drizzling. What a combination.

Based on the driver and conductor’s conversations which I was able to eavesdrop (hehehe), the bus overheated and the siren sound was a warning. And according to them, it was a good thing that the bus had the siren, otherwise they would not have known that the bus already overheated. I don’t want to imagine what could have happened then.

After 30 gruelling minutes, we finally reached Junction Marcos Highway, where my uncle and brother were waiting for me. After a few more minutes, home sweet home in one piece :). Whew!

Sayote causes High Blood :p

Why? Is it because of its composition? Nah. Here’s why.

A husband comes home in the evening after working all day in the garden. Tired and hungry, he asks his wife what’s for dinner.

Husband: Wife, what’s for dinner?
Wife: Sayote.
Husband: What? Sayote again? Sayote in the morning, sayote for lunch and now sayote for dinner?! (in an angry voice).

So that’s why. 😀

It’s just a joke of course, common to sayote farmers. But though it’s just a joke, it’s not far from being a reality (or to some, it has already become a reality hehehe).

Note that when you’re a farmer, it’s basically what you plant is what you eat hehehe. so if you plant sayote, you eat sayote. 😀 Add to it the fact that its market value is not that high. Believe it or not, the price can go for less than P1 per kilo in our place. Now, this is no joke. I remember logging our sayote sales when I was in 2nd year high school. At some point, it went for as low as P0.25 per kilo. Deduct from that the jeepney fare, fertilizers, labor (if you hired someone to clean your garden). And the harvest is not that much too. How much is left? Do the Math. I can’t imagine how we survived those days hehehe. Of course it has its golden days too where prices shoot up. But these days are RARE. Wehehe.

But I still love sayote. I can survive with sayote alone for viand – plain sayote at that – no add-ons, only sauted in oil, with a dash of salt. That’s usually the way we cook it. Because of its low market value, we can’t afford to buy meat to add to it wahaha.

Sayote will always be a part of me. It’s what has been putting food on the table for my family, until now. Take that literally and figuratively. Simply, it’s the source of living for us. And if my stint in the corporate world fails, I would still gladly go back to sayote planting. 🙂

Exploring Baguio

I admit that though I am Baguio born, I haven’t really gotten around to exploring the city like tourists do hehe. I don’t know. Maybe because since it’s my hometown, it’s weird going around it. But then I realized that as a native, I should at least be familiar with what the city can offer to its visitors. It is for this reason that 2 weeks ago, I decided to visit the usual tourist destinations in town. It is educational to my nieces and nephews as it is to me hehe. And yes, during the ‘field trip’, it doesn’t feel weird after all to be tourists in your own place hehe. At least now, I can say that I’ve been to the places where most of my friends and acquaintances go whenever they are in Baguio hehe. Now, whenever I’m home, I’ll make it a point to visit at least 1 place hehe.

It also helps when friends come to visit because when they request for meet ups and gimik, they would surely be interested in the places to see and restos to dine and they already have a list of what to check out. It’s hitting 2 birds with one stone. You get to accompany them and also you are able to try out the place yourself. 🙂

Maybe the only thing I won’t be of help at all would be on accomodations. I don’t know anyone who has that business. I didn’t have any need in the past to stay in a transient room or a hotel either. Though our home is far from the city and transportation especially at night can be a problem, I have other options like going home to my relative’s homes hehe. Besides, trying out those hotels or transient rooms can be expensive. And of course, why torture myself staying in such places when I can be in the comforts of our shabby mansion. 😀

Birthday 2009

I know it’s been 2 weeks since my birthday but it’s never too late to blog about it hehehe.

I celebrated it a day earlier with family on March 22, by being tourists in our hometown wahahaha! Some of you may find it weird but yes, admittedly, though we were born and raised here, we never really bothered visiting those places where tourists often go to when they are in town hehehe. So to get ourselves acquainted more with our place (and for me to take pictures using Gelo’s camera), I decided that it’s about time we also visit those places.

The cast: My mother, sisters with their children, and my brother.

We first attended mass then headed to the shoe store to look for graduation shoes for my niece. She graduated in Elementary as Valedectorian and I sponsored her outfit. With that accomplished, we went to Good Taste for lunch. Though it was strictly for family, I can’t help but invite my favorite aunt to join us for lunch hehehe. Good thing she was also in town that time. After lunch, off we went gallivanting.

Here are our pit stops:

Baguio Botanical Garden

Wright Park


Mansion House



Mines View Park

We dropped by SM Baguio to look for a dress for my niece. It was already getting late and the other shops have already closed by then but I wanted to accomplish that as well so SM was the only option left.

I didn’t feel like going home early though so my family went home ahead of me while I and my eldest niece stayed behind. It was a good thing because we were able to have a heart to heart talk during dinner. It was an emotional moment the entire time we were talking but I felt relieved and happy as well by the time we parted ways. I just pray that I was able to help and inspire her. I made a commitment which I know my mom would object to but it is a commitment I promised to keep for as long as my niece is ready to take the terms. I’m very optimistic about this. And I hope I will have enough resources for me to be able to do my commitment as well. Whew!

@ Home Day 1

I arrived home from Manila at 12 PM. Unfortunately, I was not able to catch the 4 AM Victory Liner trip so I had no choice but to take the 5:20 AM trip instead.


After a few hours of sleep, I went out to have dinner with friends. Actually, only 2 (Apryl and Randy) in the group are my friends. The rest are Apryl’s friends hehehe. But some of them are familiar because we all went to the same school in college. Some of them were even my classmates in some of the subjects. We met up coz Apryl arrived from Singapore. It was a timing that we’re both at home this weekend so I was able to join them. I’m glad I did. I don’t remember the last time I saw Randy. 2006 pa yata. He got married last December at UP Diliman but I was not able to attend. Where was I? Office. Amp.


We were done at around 9:30 PM. I was surprised that though it was already late (in terms of Baguio standards), there were still a lot of people milling around. We had to wait for a while before some of us were able to ride a cab. As for me, I had to wait for the one cab that was willing to bring me home to our remote home wahahaha. Transportation has always been a problem when going home. Good thing though that now, some taxi drivers are willing to travel as far as our place at this time. Kung hindi, ay good luck na lang sa akin. Either, magpapa-ampon ako sa iba para makalabas sa gabi or hwag nang lumabas at all hehehe.


It’s not so cold in town anymore though but the temperature is still favorable than that of Manila. But it’s a different story at home. Bundok eh so mas malamig. Sarap matulog hehehe. But not yet. I still have to read the manual of Gelo’s camera hehehe. So I’m out of cyberspace for the meantime.


*****

Dumaan ang Sabado nang hindi ko namamalayan. Ang natatandaan ko lang sa araw na ‘to, nasa office pa ako pagpatak ng Saturday, 12 MN, nakauwi na ako sa apartment around 3 AM, naghanda para sa byahe pauwi ng Baguio, nasa byahe na by 5:30 AM, nakauwi ng 12 noon, naidlip, lumabas para makipagkita sa mga kaibigan, nakauwi ng bahay isang oras bago matapos ang araw ng Sabado. Ngayon, Linggo na. Ayos sa bilis. Sana mamaya, mas mabagal ang oras. J

Off to home sweet home

Since we did not have any activities for Outdoor last weekend, I took advantage of it and went home. I left Manila at 4 PM so I was already there Friday night pa lang. Mas maganda pala yung ganon hehe. At may mga taxi nang willing maghatid hanggang sa amin kahit sobrang gabi na yifee! Pahirapan nga lang minsan. I left for Manila Tuesday morning na hehe.

Anyway, I was so looking forward to just staying at home in bed all day but unfortunately, we had visitors! Wahuhu. I became an instant yaya to my cousins, nieces and nephew. I asked them to perform so that I could take videos and pictures. At kailangan every after performance nila, panonoorin nila ung video or pic ng paulit-ulit. Tuwang-tuwang nakikita mga sarili nilang nagwawalaa. Mga adik hahaha. When they’re not camwhoring, they’re playing, watching TV or doing videoke using the VCDs I bought years and years ago. Akalain mong buhay pa pala yung mga yun. At tinatawag na lang sila kung kakain na. yung isa kong pinsan, tinuturuan ako ng laro nila. Tinatawanan ako pag di ko makuha. Hmp! Hehe. Kainggit maging bata hehe.

My youngest niece is already attending Day Care school. Mas sociable na ngayon. Di na nahihiyang kumembot hehe. Pero marunong pa rin magselos. :p Nakita lang na buhat ko yung pinsan ko, masama na tingin sa akin. Asus. Saka lang ako kinausap uli nung binuhat ko rin sya.

Monday was friends day. I met with my elementary friends kahit pa malakas ulan hehe. Yung isa, more than two years na yata kaming hindi nagkikita to think na nandon lang naman sya lagi hehe. We agreed to meet at 3 PM for coffee. (Dati pagabi na kami nagmimeet para sa night life. Iba na ngayon.) Kwentuhan lang tungkol sa buhay-buhay at reminiscing of the past hehe. One of my friends can’t accept na ganito na kami katanda wahaha. At least isa sa amin may lovelife wuhooo. Ayaw nga lang magkwento ng details hihi. Basta I’m happy for her. Much as we’d like to stay longer and exchange stories, kailangan na naming umuwi at around 10 PM dahil pare-pareho kaming nakatira sa malayo sa town na mahirap maghanap ng taxing willing maghatid don. Nakailang para ako bago pa may umoo sus. I can’t wait for our next meeting. Syempre nakasalalay na naman yun sa akin kung kalian ako uuwi.

Though it was tiring, it was still fun. Hope you had a great time too. 🙂

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